Friday, June 20, 2008


Re: Grave Markers: Roslyn WA


After reading the question from Karen, I thought that might also be a good place for her to upload her photos and info.

With regard to the grave markers in Roslyn, Washington you might add that if Karen has or could borrow a GPS navigation system (Tom Tom, Garmin, etc.) it would be nice, in addition to photographing them, to record their GPS coordinates. This would be a big help for anyone trying to locate a specific gravesite.

My thanks to Jeff and All for their suggestions. On the way home from my trip to the 2008
NGS Conference, I cemetery-hopped in Missouri and Iowa, visiting the gravesites for the Goering side of the family and locating two Union Civil War ancestor's tombstones. In two cases, I marked the GPS coordinates, but I completely forgot to do it at the third cemetery.

Keep a steno pad handy for documenting the GPS coordinates, mileage, places you ate, the local library and historical society, and other oddities about your research trip. And comments as if you were reporting the quality of food service to the AAA. Later you'll remember where you got that wonderful cheesy fried cauliflower.

If you are really using your GPS unit wisely, you will have marked many of these places in advance of your trip, using the internet when needed to locate the street address.

In the case of my GPS unit, a Garmin 010-00422-00 GPSMap 60CSx 2.6-Inch Mapping Handheld GPS), I was
unfamiliar with the process for marking of coordinates. Though I set marks when standing at the foot of each ancestor's grave, I couldn’t figure out in the heat of the sun how to label the coordinates with lettering.

In fact the real problem was the glaring sun itself -- as any digital camera user will tell you, it is mighty hard to view the screen in the direct sun.

Ol’ Myrt here mistakenly thought one would be able to read the GPS coordinates and decipher them at home. But I've discovered I'll have to do some detective work to determine which mark corresponds to each ancestor's grave. This means I'll look up the GPS coordinates for the towns I visited, and compare them with the marks set on my hand-held GPS unit, then use a little deductive reasoning to determine the appropriate label for each saved GPS mark. Fortunately, I mapped out on paper the placement of the tombstones in relationship to each other.

Getting to the Dallas Cemetery, in what was once Dallas, but is now Melcher-Dallas, Marion County, Iowa, was tricky. Most of the online map sites (Yahoo, MapQuest & Google) could not be specific enough in this rural part of Iowa. While all showed Melcher-Dallas, getting to the finer details wasn't possible. The zoom-in option of Google Earth returned the message "We're sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region, try zooming out for a broader look."

Lack of road signs
If it weren't for stopping in Lucas, Iowa at the barber shop (housed in the same 1-story building as the library and the town hall) I wouldn't have known the exact directions to the cemetery in question. The locals told me to continue east, and that the road would eventually turn north through Melcher. I was to continue north and keep looking for the wooden bridge to Dallas on the right about where I needed to turn (left) "west on the paved road until you see the cemetery on the north side of the road". The signs for this second highway were not posted. City folk like me would never have termed any of these small rural roads a "highway". At the bridge, we turned down one road that quickly changed to gravel. That was a big clue that I'd taken a wrong turn, so we doubled back and turned down the next road (er, umm "highway") a few houses to the north. The road had no shoulders, and no middle line, but it ended up that this was indeed Marion County Highway S45 shown in my Yahoo map printout. Here's the shot I took of the entrance of the Dallas Cemetery:

Dallas Cemetery in Melcher-Dallas, Marion, Iowa

As you can see, we need to raise a little money to improve the signage at the Dallas Cemetery. It is located in Melcher-Dallas, Marion County, Iowa, on the north side of County Highway G62 on the Melcher side of the wooden bridge to Dallas, about 1.5 mile west of County Highway S45. The Dallas Cemetery's primary coordinates are latitude 41.2344 and longitude -93.2638.

Ol' Myrt here is exhausted just trying to retell this story! That last paragraph was a doozie.

Think I'll go out and sit in the shade on the back porch and sip some fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

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